Nicholas Walters Never Recovered From Quitting Against Vasiliy Lomachenko
Boxing is a sport of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. In this sport, when fighters bite the hand that feeds them, it usually does not result in a happy ending. Former WBA ‘super’ featherweight champion Nicholas “The Axe Man” Walters (26-1-1, 21KOs) is such a tale.
THE RISE OF NICHOLAS WALTERS
For fans to fully grasp why the fall of Walters is so significant, we must first journey back to the beginning. The 35-year-old Jamaican had a good amateur career, winning a bronze medal in the Central American and Caribbean Games and two gold medals at the Caribbean Championships in 2005 and 2006.
His thirst for boxing did not surprise many as his father, Job Walters, was also a professional fighter. In 2008, Walters made his professional debut, and it was off to the races from there. The hard-punching Jamaican laid waste to opponents with meme-style knockouts that fans had not seen in the lower-weight divisions.
In 2012, The Axe-Man became the vacant WBA ‘regular’ champion in front of a huge hometown crowd in Kingston, Jamaica. Inspired, he put on a dominating performance stopping, Daulis Prescott in the seventh round. His impressive victory would catch the eye of legendary promoter and Top Rank boss Bob Arum.
Arum was excited to have signed The Axe-Man, along with four-divisional champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, and three-divisional champion Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko. The addition of these fighters had Arum and the fans hungry to see them fight.
THE FIGHT THAT MADE WALTERS FAMOUS
Walters, fueled with excitement, scored two more devastating knockouts of Alberto Garza and two-divisional champion Vic Darchinyan. In 2014, fans packed into the StubHub Center in California to see then WBA ‘Super’ champion Donaire taking on the Axe-Man. It was two hard punchers squaring off in an instant classic that lives in the memories of boxing enthusiasts throughout the boxing community.
From the sound of the bell, both men were throwing power shots, and the fans were on their feet. Walters had to overcome adversity in the second round after being hurt by a classic Donaire left hook. Then in the third round, as both fighters were going to war, Walters landed a brutal right uppercut that dropped the Filipino champion for the first time in his career.
The two fighters continued battling in a phonebooth and landing hard punches. In round six, Walters landed a perfect counter overhand-right that dropped Donaire for good. To this day, he remains the only man to have ever stopped the Filipino Flash.
This victory made the Jamaican champion a star in boxing, especially considering the fight was live on boxing juggernaut HBO’s network. Immediately the build-up started for a fight with another fellow stablemate in Lomachenko.
THE FALL OF NICHOLAS WALTERS
After two more victories, it was time to make the Walters versus Lomachenko fight. The boxing community was eager to see the power-punching machine with good boxing ability in Walters, against the ultra-talented boxing wizardry of Lomachenko.
Here is where things fell apart. During negotiations, Walters believed that the purse to fight Hi-tech was a lowball offer in such a risky fight. Reports were circling that he wanted to be paid one million dollars instead of the offered $550,000. The fight never materialized, and The Axe-man sat out for the bulk of 2016. Then news broke that after close to a one-year layoff, Walters finally agreed to fight for Lomachenko’s WBO junior lightweight title.
Once in the ring, it was clear the long-layoff played a factor. Lomachenko thoroughly outclassed and toyed with Walters to the point he quit at the end of the seventh round. Furthermore, Walters did himself no favors blaming HBO, the same network that made him a star, for not scheduling him a fight during the long layoff.
WHERE IS WALTERS NOW
The former WBA champion never recovered from this. He has not been back in the ring since that embarrassing defeat in November 2016. Sometimes fans wonder what has become of the Axe-Man doing. According to reports from Stephen Jones, President of the Jamaica Boxing Board (JBB), the former champion was supposed to be making a comeback before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
Walters is currently living in Panama and probably won’t be making a return to the ring. There has been no news of his return this year at all. Many pundits believe that Walters’ “biting the hand that fed him” essentially is the cause of his demise.
By: Garrisson Bland